Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L Nav 2dr Convertible (2017) at Bolton Motor Park Abarth, Fiat and Mazda

01204 910 361

£13,600

WAS £15,000, SAVE £1,400

Mazda MX-5 SE-L Nav Fitted with - Touch Screen Media System with Sat Nav, Connections for Bluetooth, USB and AUX, Electric Windows, Air conditioning, Steering Controls, Cruise Control, Keyless Start and more!

28/01/2017

13250

Manual

Petrol 47.1 combined MPG

SILVER

New Lower Price


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CO2: 139 g/km

MPG: 47.1

Body Glass

Electric front windows/one touch facility, Front intermittent wipers

Brakes

ABS+Electronic Brake force Distribution, DSTC-Dynamic Stability and Traction Control

Communication

Integrated bluetooth with steering wheel mounted controls

Driver Aids

Cruise control + speed limiter, Hill hold assist, PAS

Driver Convenience

Engine start/stop button, Remote boot release

Driver Information

7" touchscreen with multimedia commander, Satellite navigation system, Trip computer, Water temperature gauge

Driving Mirrors

Electrically heated door mirrors, Piano black door mirrors

Entertainment

6 speakers, Auxiliary input socket, DAB Digital radio, MP3 compatible radio/single CD player

Exterior Body Features

Body colour bumpers, Dual exhaust pipes, Premium cloth soft top with integrated heated glass window and soft top cover

Exterior Lights

Automatic headlamp levelling, Coming/leaving home lighting function, LED daytime running lights, LED Headlights

Heating/Cooling/Ventilation

Climate control air conditioning

Interior Features

12V socket, Body coloured inner door trims, Centre console storage box, Cloth upholstery, Cupholders, Front centre armrest, Leather gear knob, Leather handbrake lever, Leather steering wheel, Lockable rear storage box, Windblocker

Safety

3 point ELR front seatbelts with pretensioners, Dual front airbags, Fasten seatbelt reminder, Passenger airbag deactivation system, Side airbags, Tyre pressure monitor

Seats

Front head restraints, Heated front seats, Height adjustable front seats, ISOFIX front passenger seat child seat compliance, Sports seats, Tilt/slide reclining front seats

Security

Remote central door locking, Remote keyless entry, Superlocking, Thatcham category 1 alarm + immobiliser

Wheels - Alloy

16" Gunmetal alloy wheels

Wheels - Spare

Tyre puncture repair kit

General

Badge Engine CC: 1.5
Badge Power: 131
Based On ID: N
Coin Description: N
Coin Series: SE-L Nav
Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 26E
Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 84
NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 80
NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 4
NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 93
NCAP Safety Assist %: 64
Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
Service Interval Mileage: 12500
Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
Vehicle Homologation Class: M1

Emissions - ICE

CO2 (g/km): 139
HC+NOx: N
Particles: N
Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6

Engine and Drive Train

Camshaft: DOHC
Catalytic Convertor: True
CC: 1496
Compression Ratio: 13.0:1
Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
Cylinders: 4
Cylinders - Bore (mm): 74.5
Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 85.8
Engine Layout: NORTH SOUTH
Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
Gears: 6 SPEED
Number of Valves: 16
Transmission: MANUAL

Fuel Consumption - ICE

EC Combined (mpg): 47.1
EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: True
EC Extra Urban (mpg): 57.6
EC Urban (mpg): 35.8

Performance

0 to 62 mph (secs): 8.3
Engine Power - BHP: 131
Engine Power - KW: 96
Engine Power - PS: True
Engine Power - RPM: 7000
Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 111
Engine Torque - MKG: 15.3
Engine Torque - NM: 150
Engine Torque - RPM: 4800
Top Speed: 127

Tyres

Alloys?: True
Tyre Size Front: 195/50 R16
Tyre Size Rear: 195/50 R16
Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
Wheel Style: N
Wheel Type: 16" ALLOY

Vehicle Dimensions

Height: 1225
Height (including roof rails): N
Length: 3915
Wheelbase: 2310
Width: 1735
Width (including mirrors): N

Weight and Capacities

Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 45
Gross Vehicle Weight: 1215
Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): N
Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 130
Max. Loading Weight: 200
Max. Roof Load: N
Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
Minimum Kerbweight: 1015
No. of Seats: 2
Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.4

BACK TO BASICS (new2) 26/06/2015

Mazda has boosted the appeal of its fourth-generation MX-5 roadster. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

It's hard not to like the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 roadster, especially now that it's faster, safer and more efficient. As before, there are 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrol engine options and anything this car lacks in outright power, it more than makes up in agility and tactility.

Background

Is there another car sold today that rivals the Mazda MX-5's legacy? The Porsche 911 is an icon and the Toyota GT86 might well become one. The Volkswagen Golf is a name most can identify with, but the MX-5 is special. It has rewritten the record books again and again for sports car sales and its recipe of light weight, driver focus and simple front engine/rear drive layout just has an inherent rightness about it that hasn't dated. But, as is the case with most cars, successive generations get bigger and heavier. The MX-5 hasn't been immune to this issue, customers demanding improved safety, more equipment and better quality as each successive generation has been developed. With this MK4 model though, originally launched back in 2015, Mazda drew a line in the sand and went back to the light, tactile approach that made the MX-5 so great in the first place. Now the company's added a touch of extra power and technology to the equation.

Driving Experience

As before, this fourth generation MX-5 is offered with either a 1.5-litre unit or a 2.0-litre engine but both these normally aspirated petrol powerplants have been significantly worked upon. The 1.5 still puts out 132PS, but the 2.0-litre powerplant's original 160PS output has been now raised to 184PS at a heady 7,000rpm (up from 6,800rpm). You always did have to rev MX-5 engines hard to get the best from them.. Torque has risen slightly with the 2.0-litre, from 200 to 205Nm. Mazda says that this 'SKYACTIV-G' 2.0 unit is now higher-revving and acoustically-tuned. The rest to 62mph sprint time is now 0.8s faster at 6.5s. This improved fourth generation design continues to conform to five key criteria that Mazda claim define the MX-5 - rear drive with a front-mid engine layout, 50/50 weight distribution and an eagerness to change direction, plus a low kerb weight and an affordable price. All models get six-speed manual gearboxes. The MX-5 isn't about straight line pace, it's about agility and tactility. Because the engines are so small, they can be tucked down and back in the car. Mazda reckons the bonnet and overhang used here are the lowest and shortest of any production model. Weight has been pared back by using aluminium for the bonnet, boot and front wings, while the soft top hood is also very light, improving the centre of gravity. Much of the front suspension is aluminium, as is the gearbox casing, the differential casing and the bracing that runs down the car's backbone. The virtuous circle of weight saving means that the smaller wheels only need four bolts as opposed to five. Lower rotational masses mean that the brake assemblies can also be made smaller, simpler and lighter.

Design and Build

As before, there are two bodystyles on offer, the classic soft-topped roadster and the folding metal-roof RF variant. The shape of the MX-5 hasn't changed radically from generation to generation. This one's no exception, but there's a bit more aggression about the detailing, the car looking like a shrunken Jaguar F-Type roadster from the rear three-quarter. Some have thought there's something a bit fishy-looking about the front end but it'll probably grow on you. See one in the metal and you'll be amazed at just how tiny it is. It's fully 105mm shorter in overall length than the previous generation version, despite the wheelbase only being 15mm less. It also stands 20mm lower and 10mm wider. Lower and wider is always good for a roadster's stance. In another clever touch, the seat cushions are supported on netting instead of the usual metal springs, allowing Mazda to reduce weight and seat the driver's hip point closer to the road. A lower driver then means the windscreen header rail can shift backwards, in this case by 70mm, which in turn means the hood is shorter and lighter, and also easier to package when folded. See what we mean about that virtuous circle?

Market and Model

Prices for the soft-top version theoretically start at around £19,000 but you'll probably be paying between £21,000 and £23,000 for a 1.5-litre model if you want a nicer level of spec - and obviously even more for the 2.0-litre; think in terms of around £22,000-upwards for that variant. The standard trim levels are 'SE+', 'SE-L Nav+' and 'Sport Nav+', plus the usual special editions. The RF folding metal roof bodystyle isn't available with base 'SE' trim and demands an £1,800 premium over the soft top. Even base models come with alloy wheels, LED headlights, a leather steering wheel, plus a lightweight and sleek fabric hood. SE-L versions add LED daytime running lights, climate control air-conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth and cruise control, plus Mazda's MZD-Connect connectivity and infotainment system with 7-inch colour touch-screen display and Multimedia Commander. SE-L models with the 2.0-litre engine get gunmetal 17-inch alloy wheels and piano black door mirrors, as well as benefiting from a strut tower bar and limited slip differential. Navigation is optional. Step up to Sport trim and both the 1.5 and 2.0-litre cars feature rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, smart keyless entry, Premium Bose Surround-Sound and heated leather seats. With the 1.5-litre engine, Sport trim MX-5's come with 16-inch gunmetal alloy wheels and piano black door mirrors. Sport models with the 2.0-litre engine get sports suspension featuring Bilstein dampers, a limited slip differential and strut tower bar, and can be identified by their 17-inch alloy wheels and body coloured mirrors.

Cost of Ownership

Stick with light weight and modest power outputs and this dictates a raft of affordable costs. The MX-5 has long been the exemplar of the affordable sports car and emissions are agreeably low, the 1.5-litre engine pegged at 143g/km, with 47.1mpg possible on the combined cycle. The 2.0-litre engine is rated at 156g/km. Owners can keep up to date with their car's maintenance schedule via the instrument binnacle trip computer screen and the 'Applications' section of the 'MZD-Connect' centre-dash monitor. To help you keep track of what work has been carried out, you can access a 'Digital Service Record' online and use a useful 'My Mazda App' to receive reminders about servicing, book your car in at your local dealership and access a digitally-stored record of your model's service history. Residual values ought to hold up well, with the MX-5 a favourite amongst used car buyers due to its relative simplicity, strong reliability and low cost to insure.

Summary

Weight is the enemy. Excess weight in a car dulls its responses, makes it harder to turn, stop and accelerate, ensures that it drinks more fuel and puts greater stresses on virtually every moving part, parts which then have to be beefed up and made heavier to cope. The Mazda MX-5 reverses that cycle, stripping weight off which in turn allows it to pare more weight back with other simple lightweight componentry. It's a brilliant piece of engineering. It also goes to show that you can probably have more fun with 1.5 litres worth of MX-5 than you can with some supercars. No, that's not hyperbole. Try it and you'll see. If you measure your cars in terms of smiles per mile, the MX-5 has to be right near the top of your shortlist.

FOLD TIMER (used) 01/04/2010

BY STEVE WALKER

Introduction

Convertibles are, by their very nature, love it or hate it kinds of vehicles and on the used market, their polarising effects can be multiplied. Mazda's MX-5 roadster has always done a creditable job of attracting those who fall into the 'love it' camp with its sparkling driving experience and affordability but people who prefer to be insulated from the elements by something more substantial than a few millimetres of material routinely gave it the cold shoulder. Mazda's answer was the Roadster Coupe, a version of the MX-5 with a folding hardtop roof. At a stroke, it made Mazda's little sports car more appealing to drop-top doubters and as a used buy, it's perceived as a more substantial proposition than the soft top.

Models

Models Covered: MX-5 Roadster Coupe - 2006 to date: 2 door roadster-coupe [1.8, 2.0-litre petrol (base, Sport)]

History

The third generation Mazda MX-5 model debuted in September 2005 and although it was a little bigger and heavier than previous generations, the styling rejuvenated the car, bringing a little more edginess to proceedings. The introduction in September 2006 of the Roadster-Coupe model with the folding hard top roof further broadened the appeal to customers who wanted the handling of the MX-5 but weren't enamoured of a fabric roof. Offered with the same 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines as the standard models, the Roadster Coupe presented MX-5 buyers with a straight choice - soft-top or not.

What You Get

The Roadster Coupe's powered folding roof retracts in three sections with no impact on boot space and adds just 37kg to the weight of an equivalent soft top MX-5 roadster. Raise the roof and it sits a mere centimetre taller than its fabric-trimmed sibling. In short, the arrangement isn't overly intrusive. Although it's tempting to think of this car as 'just a roof', a lot of thought clearly went into it. The spring and damper settings were subtly revised to take account of the hard top car's marginally altered weight distribution. Thankfully, the roof retracts to a position within the wheelbase of the car so that it doesn't detract too markedly from handling agility. That said, Mazda concentrated on giving this MX-5 a smoother and milder road feel, targeting it at those who value refinement. Park the Roadster Coupe and the MX-5 soft top next to each other and it's possible to see the subtle way in which Mazda has teased out the shape to accommodate the folding roof. The rear deck of the car sits 40mm higher at the rear window line and 20mm higher at the trailing edge of the boot, giving it a slightly more hunched and powerful look than the soft top. It's really a very minor change and tough to discern in isolation. Whereas the average duration for a roof operation of this kind tends to be around 22 seconds, Mazda whittled that time back to a mere 12 seconds for the MX-5 Roadster Coupe, making it the fastest folding hard top in the world at the time of its launch. The driver must unlatch a centre lock and then press a button to operate the roof but it can easily be done while waiting at lights. The roof itself is composed of three panels; a front roof section, a middle roof part and a window assembly. Highly formable yet stiff plastics were required to keep weight low and durability high.

What You Pay

Refer to Car & Driving for an exact up-to-date valuation section. Click here and we will email it to you.

What to Look For

The Roadster-Coupe roof mechanism should work quickly with no need for manual alignment. Mazda raised the ride height of the MX-5 by 30mm to pass EU pedestrian crash tests. Apparently the car handles far better when returned to the factory ride height. Not that we would condone such antisocial behaviour. With the MK2 MX-5, there were all sorts of pitfalls regarding parallel imports and jazzed-up used examples, problems that you tend not to have to look out for with the third-generation model. Just make sure that the car has been serviced on the button, hasn't been crassly modified and hasn't suffered accident damage. It's also quite easy to immolate a set of rear tyres if you know how to disable the stability control and have found a deserted airfield or benign roundabout, so make sure there's some tread on the rears.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2006 MX-5 1.8i Roadster Coupe ex Vat) A clutch assembly is around £200 and an exchange alternator about £225 while a starter motor is around £150. A door mirror is about £125 and a windscreen is just under £130.

On the Road

Five basic requirements were defined to realise the third-generation MX-5 design criteria. Firstly the car would be as light as possible while meeting global safety requirements. Next, the cockpit would comfortably accommodate two full stature occupants with no wasted space. The basic layout would continue with the original's front-engine rear-wheel drive configuration with the engine positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for a 50:50 front to rear weight distribution. All four wheels would be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tyre performance, road grip and dynamic stability. Finally, the chassis would provide a solid connection between the engine and the rear mounted differential to sharpen throttle response. That the MK3 MX-5 scores in these departments is obvious from its basic details. The engine moved back fully 135mm for better weight distribution, while chassis torsional rigidity goes up by 47 per cent. Rather than concentrate on kilograms saved, Mazda insisted that every component would be weighed in grams. Take care of the grams and the kilos look after themselves. The 125bhp 1.8-litre alternative is far sweeter and rewards hard driving more vocally. With a 0-60mph acceleration time of 9.4s, there's plenty of scope to explore the 1.8-litre MX-5's potential without entering licence confiscation territory. The 2.0-litre unit is capable of 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds which is still fairly tame by today's standards. Neither car will trouble any of the top-line hot hatchbacks that are currently available in a traffic light face off. The entry level car has a 122mph top speed compared to 130mph in the range-topper.

Overall

The Mazda MX-5 is a cracking little roadster and buyers looking for such a car in this price range don't really have too many other options at their disposal. Having seen off the competition, the MX-5 began to diversify and the Roadster Coupe model certainly broadened the car's appeal. If you've doubts about used soft tops, especially soft-tops that have seen a bit of use, the Roadster Coupe version of the MX-5 neatly solves the problem.

SOFT TOP, HARD SELL (used) 14/05/2008

BY ANDY ENRIGHT

Introduction

Success can be a double-edged sword. While it's great to reap the financial rewards of huge sales, it can also make designing a replacement that much trickier. Still, as problems go, it's a nice one to have. Mazda were faced with just such a predicament when they came to replace the second generation MX-5. Although evergreen was a word often used to describe this car, all vehicles have a shelf life and the Japanese company couldn't afford for this one to overstay its welcome. The third generation car was a bit bigger, a whole lot smarter but still true to the original formula. A used buy remains one of the safest roadster purchases you can make.

Models

Models Covered: Third Generation MX-5 - 2005-to date: 2 door roadster, 2 door roadster-coupe [1.8, 2.0-litre petrol (base, Sport, SE, Icon, ZSport)]

History

First a brief recap on the Mazda MX-5 to date. Introduced to rave reviews way back in 1991, the MX-5 rapidly became an institution, shamelessly aping classic British sports cars but without the flaky build quality. The second generation model arrived in April 1998. The pop-up headlamps were ditched in favour of fixed lights, the engines were made more powerful and the vinyl zip out rear window was upgraded to a proper glass item. Twin airbags were fitted and the S model received a Torsen limited slip differential. Somewhat unbelievably, a low fuel warning light wasn't fitted until 2002 when the range underwent a mild freshening. The third generation model debuted in September 2005 and although it was a little bigger and heavier, the styling rejuvenated the car, being a bit edgier than before, and the introduction in September 2006 of the Roadster-Coupe model with a folding hard top further broadened the appeal to customers who wanted the handling of the MX-5 but weren't enamoured of a fabric roof.

What You Get

While the philosophy hasn't changed a great deal from the original car, the execution of this third-generation MX-5 is quite different. Gone are the curvy 'Coke-bottle' flanks of the old car, replaced instead by a cleaner, slabbier look. Viewed in profile, the differences aren't huge, but from front and rear, there are quite fundamental changes. The wheel arches are considerably beefier, allowing the fitment of big alloy wheels. To accentuate the tapering shapes of the body, the headlights and tail light are, somewhat unusually, mounted well inboard of the corners. One thing that didn't really need a lot of changing was the car's hood. Even now, there are plenty of prestige manufacturers who have never got anywhere close to the simplicity and elegance of design of the MX-5's original rag top and the latest car doesn't divert too far from that base. The Z-folding roof unclips with one central latch and is then throw down flush with the car's rear deck. It would have been sacrilege to burden the MX-5 with weighty folding tin top with a million and one electric motors to blunt performance but Mazda couldn't resist the modern trend for movable metal roofs entirely. Instead, they designed a folding hardtop that sets new standards for lightness and simplicity. That's why buyers who really don't want the cloth top MX-5 can turn to the MX-5 Roadster Coupe. One area where the MX-5 was starting to fall off the pace quite obviously was in terms of interior design. Roadster buyers want a little visual pizzazz and the acres of black plastic and low rent trim hamstrung the company in their bid to present ever more upmarket variants of the MX-5. The MK3 car is a whole lot smarter inside with a T-shaped dash layout housing a neat centre console, while the driver-focused dials feature metallic bezels to lift the ambience. The speakers, gear change gaiter, ventilation controls, air vents, main dials, cupholders and steering wheel boss all follow a circular theme. The quality of trim material is way higher than before with a high-gloss piano black finish across the fascia.

What You Pay

Refer to Car & Driving for an exact up-to-date valuation section. Click here and we will email it to you.

What to Look For

With the MK2 MX-5, there were all sorts of pitfalls regarding parallel imports and ponied up used examples, problems that you tend not to have to look out for with the third-generation model. Just make sure that the car has been serviced on the button, hasn't been crassly modified and hasn't suffered accident damage. It's also quite easy to immolate a set of rear tyres if you know how to disable the stability control and have found a deserted airfield or benign roundabout, so make sure there's some tread on the rears. Otherwise just check the alloys for kerbing damage, the tyres for wear and the hood for signs of rips, damage or discolouration. The Roadster-Coupe roof mechanism should also work quickly with no need for manual alignment. Mazda raised the ride height of the MX-5 by 30mm to pass EU pedestrian crash tests. Apparently the car handles far better when returned to the factory ride height. Not that we would condone such antisocial behaviour.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2006 MX-5 1.8i ex Vat) A clutch assembly is around £200 and an exchange alternator about £225 while a starter motor is around £150. A door mirror is about £125 and a windscreens just under £130.

On the Road

Five basic requirements were defined to realise the third-generation MX-5 design criiteria. Firstly the car would be as light as possible while meeting global safety requirements. Next, the cockpit would comfortably accommodate two full stature occupants with no wasted space. The basic layout would continue with the original's front-engine rear-wheel drive configuration with the engine positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for a 50:50 front to rear weight distribution. All four wheels would be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tyre performance, road grip and dynamic stability. Finally, the chassis would provide a solid connection between the engine and the rear mounted differential to sharpen throttle response. That the MK3 MX-5 scores in these departments is obvious from its basic details. The engine moved back fully 135mm for better weight distribution, while chassis torsional rigidity goes up by 47 per cent. Rather than concentrate on kilograms saved, Mazda insisted that every component would be weighed in grams. Take care of the grams and the kilos look after themselves. The 125bhp 1.8-litre alternative is far sweeter and rewards hard driving more vocally. With a 0-60mph acceleration time of 9.4s, there's plenty of scope to explore the 1.8-litre MX-5's potential without entering licence confiscation territory. The 2.0-litre unit is capable of 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds which is still fairly tame by today's standards. Neither car will trouble any of the top-line hot hatchbacks that are currently available in a traffic light face off. The entry level car has a 122mph top speed compared to 130mph in the range-topper.

Overall

Take a look at a used third generation MX-5 and ask yourself what a used Honda S2000 offers for £10,000 more. Yes, the Honda is a little faster but how often will you need to go that fast? The Mazda handles better and even feels better built. It's still one of the best used buys around. Some things don't change.

HEIR APPARENT (used) 05/10/2012

By Andy Enright

Introduction

The Mazda MX-5 seems to have achieved genuinely iconic status amongst sports car fans. It's the affordable roadster that can do no wrong. Or is it? The third generation MX-5 launched in 2005 got bigger and softer and for the very first time, there were mutterings that Mazda had taken their eye off the ball. The Hiroshima brand didn't hurry a response, waiting until Spring 2009 to introduce a whole raft of updates and improvements that once again made the car what it always should have been. Namely, something so much sharper and more fun to drive than anything comparable, yet not a car that would pose a huge risk to your licence in the process. So this improved MK3 model is the version to seek out if you're going to be shopping amongst third generation MX-5s. Here's what to look for.

Models

2dr roadster / roadster-coupe (1.8, 2.0 petrol [SE, Sport Tech, Venture, Kendo, Kuro, Miyako, 20th Anniversary Limited Edition])

History

We'll start with a whirlwind primer on the MX-5's background. Introduced to rave reviews way back in 1991, this little roadster rapidly became an institution, shamelessly aping classic British sports cars but passing on the flaky build quality. The second generation model arrived in April 1998. Here, the pop-up headlamps were ditched in favour of fixed lights, the engines were made more powerful and the vinyl zip out rear window was upgraded to a proper glass item. The MK3 version debuted in September 2005 and although it was a little bigger and heavier, the styling rejuvenated the car, being a bit edgier than before. Most importantly, the introduction in September 2006 of the Roadster-Coupe model with its folding hard top further broadened the appeal to customers who wanted the handling of the MX-5 but weren't enamoured of a fabric roof. Which brings us to the version we're concerned with here, the facelifted MK3 model introduced in the Spring of 2009. With this car, gone was the cutesy front end in favour of a look that ramped up the aggression a few notches, mixing some testosterone into the MX-5's previously mild personality. There were a number of changes under the skin to tauten the feel of the car, a bunch of specification upgrades and, inevitably, the onslaught of even more of the kind of special edition models that Mazda is so keen on. We had a '20th Anniversary' version in February 2010, the 'Miyako' model in June of that year, the 'Kendo' in February 2011, the 'Kuro' in June 2012 and then the 'Venture' models in September 2012.

What You Get

Five basic requirements were defined to realise Mazda's design criteria for the MX-5. Firstly the car would be as light as possible while meeting global safety requirements. Next, the cockpit would comfortably accommodate two full stature occupants with no wasted space. Thirdly, the basic layout would continue with the original's front-engine rear-wheel drive configuration, with the engine positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for a 50:50 front to rear weight distribution. Next, all four wheels would be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tyre performance, road grip and dynamic stability. Finally, the chassis would provide a solid connection between the engine and the rear mounted differential to sharpen throttle response. This car puts a big tick beside all those boxes and in this improved MK3 guise, dresses the winning formula in a smarter suit of clothes. The changes aren't drastic but the front end of this particular MX-5 has a more aggressive edge, courtesy of a reshaped air-intake with cutaway sections either side to house the fog lights. Revisions to the side sills and the rear bumper complete the effect. The interior is simple but effective and does indeed have space for a pair of lofty adults. With this model, there's more silver detailing about the place and that gives a more upmarket feel than the previous dark plastics. The hard-topped Roadster-Coupe variant especially benefitted from the MK3 version's 2009 model year facelift package, undergoing a series of changes aimed at reducing cabin noise. And from this point onwards, every MX-5 came better equipped, including features like a leather-trimmed steering wheel, gear knob and hand-brake, alloy wheels, plus an MP3-compatible audio system with six speakers and an auxiliary (AUX) input jack for MP3 and iPod connection. The improvements also stretched to fine-tuning of the engines on offer. This, coupled to aerodynamic drag reduction, meant significant reductions in CO2 emissions which dropped down from 174 to 167g/km for the 1.8i SE model. Add to that better fuel consumption - an improvement from 38.7 to 40.4mpg on the combined cycle for the 1.8i SE - and you had a package adding up to significantly reduced running costs compared to the original MK3 model.

What You Pay

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What to Look For

The MX-5 has proved to be one of the most reliable sports cars money can buy. No, scrub that. Cars full stop. In a recent annual reliability survey that covered more than 50,000 vehicles, What Car? magazine confirmed this iconic roadster to be the most reliable car in Britain. Mazda MX-5 sports cars manufactured since 2005 recorded a failure rate of just 4% percent - the lowest of all models covered in the 2012 survey - compared to the next nearest open-top competitor at 15%. With 96% of these Mazda models being fault-free, the MX-5 also achieved an impressive Reliability Index (RI) score of just eight (the lower score, the better the car), while the national average score for individual models was 100. According to the survey, MX-5 owners also benefit from the lowest repair costs, with an average repair bill of just £165. You get the idea: you can't go too far wrong here. Just make sure that the car has been serviced on the button, hasn't been crassly modified and hasn't suffered accident damage. It's also quite easy to ruin a set of back tyres if you know how to disable the stability control and have found a deserted airfield or a benign roundabout, so make sure there's some tread on those rears. Otherwise just check the alloys for kerbing damage, the front tyres for wear and the hood for signs of rips, damage or discolouration. The Roadster-Coupe roof mechanism should also work quickly with no need for manual alignment. Mazda raised the ride height of more recently made MX-5s by 30mm to pass EU pedestrian crash tests. Apparently though, the car handles far better when returned to the lower factory ride height. Take that up with an MX-5 specialist if you want to find out more.

Replacement Parts

(Estimated on a MX-5 1.8i ex Vat) A clutch assembly is around £200 and an exchange alternator about £225, while a starter motor is around £150. A door mirror is about £125 and a windscreens just under £130.

On the Road

When the third generation MX-5 was originally launched in 2005, the 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines offered enough power to exploit its agile chassis but didn't reward you with a banshee wail or a feral snarl when you left your foot in the corner. Modifications to the intake manifold and the introduction of a forged crankshaft on the facelifted model sold between 2009 and 2012 were specifically designed to produce the kind of aural exhilaration that can add so much to a roadster's character. The 2.0-litre engine also got an extended rev limit so that it topped out at a higher 7,500rpm, 500rpm above the level at which its peak 124bhp of power was generated. Go for the 1.8-litre unit and you'll find that it delivers its 124bhp maximum at 6,500rpm. But power, of course, has never been the point of the MX-5. The joy of this little Mazda has always emanated from the purity of its chassis and its intuitive handling. The Japanese call it Jinba Ittai, the feeling of oneness between car and driver: if we call it 'fun', we won't be a million miles away. Compared to more hardcore sports cars, the MX-5 has always felt softer and more forgiving, but its pure, communicative driving experience always gave it the edge over most of them in terms of sheer enjoyment. The version we're looking at here advanced that philosophy a step or two further with a number of small revisions. A retuned suspension set-up encouraged faster responses to steering inputs and reduced body roll. The 6-speed manual gearbox was revised for faster, smother shifts and an automatic gearbox was made available for the first time. The paddle-shift transmission offered a relief to your left leg in heavy traffic.

Overall

The Mazda MX-5 has been designed to entertain without imposing the usual sacrifices you need to make when choosing a sports car. It's no wonder that the Japanese brand has sold over a million of these things. This model has always been reliable, economical and safe. In facelifted third generation form, it's also just that little bit smarter, more efficient and more exciting. The perfect used roadster? That's about the size of it.

Mazda MX-5 average rating: 4.5/5 (27 reviews)

- 13/10/19, owner of a Mazda MX-5 Convertible 1.5 [132] Sport Nav+ 2dr

User rating: 5/5

User comment:
Loving my new MX-5 Sports Nav. This is the second MX-5 that I have owned. Not sure I can go back to a "normal" car.

- 14/08/2019, owner of a Mazda MX-5 Convertible 1.5 SE 2dr 2015

User rating: 5/5

User comment:
I love it.

- 15/06/2019, owner of a Mazda MX-5 RF 1.5 Sport Nav 2dr

User rating: 4.5/5

User comment:
Having the ability to give up a Seat Leon company car and choose what I wanted, I treated myself to the Mazda MX5 RF. l love the look and the practicality of a convertible and hard top combo. The car is a treat to drive and the ride is what you would expect for a 2 door sports car. I was worried that the 1.5 engine I chose would not be nippy enough when needed but it has plenty. The only criticism is that having work and personal phones connected I cannot flick between the two easily. Otherwise this car puts a big smile on my face.

Read all Mazda MX-5 Reviews

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